This week sees the start of the Frankfurt Motor Show, one of the largest auto shows of the year and a chance for manufacturers from around the world to illustrate their visions of the future. Here, a look at some of the wacky concepts not to be missed.
Audi A2/Urban Concept
A high-tech frosting roof tops Audi’s vision of the new A2, a 3.8 meter-long electric city car described as ‘elegant and sporty.’ Also on display will be a high-tech city runabout dubbed the Audi Urban, made of carbon fiber-reinforced polymer.
The first models from BMW’s new eco-friendly ‘i’ sub-brand are a long-awaited addition to the German automaker’s fold. Expect an all-electric small vehicle of the i3 and a hybrid family car of the i8, with cutting-edge technology used for everything from the powertrain to the lighting.
Although many automakers appear to be favoring small car design, Citroen has gone big on shared mobility, creating a part-van, part-bus concept to help ease the pain of car-sharing for the masses. Look out for the Tubik’s huge interior screen and handy reconfigurable seats.
The Ford Evos is truly out of this world, but it’s grounded in some very strong design language we can expect to see make the transition from concept to production in future Ford vehicles. In line with Ford’s huge focus on technology, it showcases some of the features that could be in production vehicles before long.
A sporty two-seater, this model appears to confirm Jaguar’s investment in hybrid technology. The C-X16 offers a top speed of 300 km/h (186 mph) and a 0-100 km/h time of 4.4 seconds, with an electric-only top speed of 50 mph (80 km/h).
Opel/Vauxhall One Euro Car
Like Volkswagen’s NILS, the One Euro Car is attempting to solve urban transportation problems, but adds a unique twist — the model can be speed-limited to make it suitable for young drivers.
A shooting-break MPV? It could be more realistic than you think, thanks to Peugeot’s dramatic six-seater concept. Resembling something of a squashed MPV, the HX1 is sleek, low, and exceptionally fuel-efficient — something Peugeot believes will go a long way in the family cars of the future.
Design-led brand Smart will debut the Forvision, an electric concept it thinks could shake up the way vehicles are designed thanks to its use of nanotechnology. The roof not only generates solar power, it can also be switched between daytime transparency and giving off a soft light at night.
Developed with aid from the German government, NILS gives a hint at what Volkswagen believes we’ll be traveling around cities with in the future. A one-person ‘personal transportation’ concept, it’s battery powered and designed to significantly reduce congestion thanks to its small size.
All the concepts will be on show at the Frankfurt Motor Show, which runs September 15-25 in Frankfurt, Germany.
Alex has written for Vanity Fair, Barrons, Bloomberg and Condé Nast Traveler.